Summer brings a lot more free time for many people, but how to fill up all that time without breaking the bank? Fortunately, Fort Worth and the surrounding area does not lack for free things to do. Check out this wide variety of events and activities that won't cost you a single cent.
Go museum hopping
Fort Worth's Museum District is almost second to none given that the world-class collections are in such close proximity to one another. You can get in free every day to the Kimbell Art Museum and Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is free for military members and their families every day through September 3, and free for everyone on Sundays. If you're downtown, you can also stop by Sid Richardson Museum in Sundance Square, one block north of Sundance Square Plaza, which is also free every day.
Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts Summer Series
Throughout June and July, Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts in Arlington is hosting a series of free concerts and kids movies. On most Thursdays, families can enjoy movies like Moana, Sing, The Secret Life of Pets, and Finding Dory, while local and regional musicians like Reckless Kelly, Somebody's Darling, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Terry Hendrix & Lloyd Maines, and Junior Brown take to the stage on the weekends.
Near Southside Inc. presents Friday on the Green
Friday on the Green is a free monthly concert series that features the region’s best live music, tasty food and drinks from Near Southside eateries, and the fun and relaxed atmosphere of a big neighborhood picnic. Bring your blankets, chairs, and pets, and settle in for a night of great tunes and food at Magnolia Green Park. There's one more event on June 9, then a couple of months off before it picks up again on September 8.
Waterside presents Sunset Sessions in The Grove
Sometimes all up-and-coming singers need is a public place for people to be exposed to their music. The Waterside development at the corner of Bryant Irvin Road and Arborlawn Drive provides that opportunity every Friday through the end of June, showcasing musicians like Wayne Floyd, Morgan Lindley, Ansley Dougherty, and Zach Pack. Guests can listen from the many shaded seating areas in The Grove or patios of the surrounding restaurants.
Bass Pro Shops presents Gone Fishing
For many people, summertime means a trip to the lake or other bodies of water to go fishing. At this free event at Bass Pro Shop in Grapevine, taking place June 10-11 and June 17-18, kids and others can learn how to cast a reel at a catch-and-release pond to earn a “first fish” certificate. They also can give tips for family-friendly fishing outings, and there will be special giveaways.
See a movie outside
Coyote Drive-In is a reliably great place to see a movie, but its need to succeed as a business forces them to charge you for tickets. Two places that will show you movies outside for free this summer are the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, which is taking a tour of Jim Carrey's filmography on its patio every Thursday night in June, and Sundance Square Plaza, which is showcasing movies like The Princess Bride, Back to the Future, the original Ghostbusters, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Grease, every Friday between June 15 and July 13.
Rockin' the River
While many outdoor events take a break in July and August to avoid the heat, Rockin' the River revels in it. Taking place at Panther Island Pavilion, it features new bands playing every Saturday, July 1 through August 5. Visitors can grab a beer and tube and enjoy the music while floating on the Trinity River. If you prefer, bring a blanket or chairs and sit on the shore. Every concert ends with an awesome fireworks show.
Fourth of July celebrations
Speaking of fireworks, there are several free opportunities to see fireworks for free around the Fourth of July. On July 1, the Viridian community in Arlington will hold its Stars and Stripes Celebration with live music, family-friendly activities, and fireworks. The Old-Fashioned Family Fireworks Picnic, taking place July 2-4 at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, isn't free, but if you position yourself just right nearby, you can enjoy the show. The biggest and best event, though, is Fort Worth's Fourth at Panther Island Pavilion on July 4, featuring a full day of live music, as well as free activities such as Jet Ski and Flyboard shows, pony rides, bounce houses, miniature golf, a water slide, a levee slide, face painting, tubing, and more, culminating with a great fireworks show.
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth presents Modern Kids Summer Flicks
Almost every weekend, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth screens an independent film for adults. But this free festival, taking place August 1-3, focuses on the kids, featuring a selective slate of the best animated shorts from the 2017 New York International Children's Film Festival, as well the critically acclaimed feature films Song of the Sea and Eleanor’s Secret.
Do some gardening
Except for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra's Concerts in the Garden series, you can enjoy the beauty of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden for free every day. The garden includes 16 separate areas (including the Japanese Garden, which requires a nominal entry fee), allowing visitors to explore plants and flowers that are both native and not native to Texas.
Look at a piece of the universe
The Monnig Meteorite Collection on the campus of Texas Christian University is one of the largest university-based meteorite collections in the world. Currently, the Monnig contains nearly 3,000 samples from more than 2,300 different meteorites, and the collection is constantly growing. A portion of the collection is viewable for free on weekday afternoons and all day on Saturdays.
Surround yourself with water
Built in 1974, the Fort Worth Water Gardens is one of the city's most notable attractions, providing an oasis in the middle of downtown. Descending below street level between Houston and Commerce Streets, the Philip Johnson-designed structure offers calmness and coolness for anybody seeking sanctuary from the busy world around them.
The Trinity Trails offer no shortage of places to explore for those who love the outdoors. There are over 40 miles of trails along the Trinity River and its tributaries, for walking, running, cycling, or horseback riding. The trail network connects with 21 parks, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and Japanese Garden, Log Cabin Village, Fort Worth Zoo, the historic Stockyards, and downtown Fort Worth. Who knows the treasures you might find, including this somewhat hidden waterfall.
Dance the night away
Line dancing is beloved at Billy Bob's Texas, and to encourage people to join in on the fun, the venue offers free line-dancing lessons almost every Thursday night. True, you do have to pay for entry into Billy Bob's itself, but since the lessons start at 7 pm and the entry fee is $2 before 7, all it takes is a little digging around in your change jar to up your dance game.
Barcadia free play night
There's something about video games that will always keep you feeling young. Barcadia in Fort Worth offers the opportunity to play vintage arcade games every day, but each Monday and Tuesday it lets you play for free. True, if you want to eat or drink you still have to pay for that privilege, but it's happy hour all night on Mondays, and there are extra drink specials on Tuesdays.